Google Chrome is going down the bog a little bit which is a real shame. It is by far the quickest browser going and it is arguably the most secure, but like some of Googles other products at the moment it is losing some of it's appeal.
I've always loved the way that the big G does things. Form following function, minimalist tools that work brilliantly alone but also integrate seamlessly with other Google tools. Case in point, the Search homepage. Other case in point, gMail.
Parking the odd exception like the supremely complex Google Wave, their tools are generally awesome, have zero learning curve and occasionally include really positive game changing features.
Over the last few months though, some odd decisions seem to be getting made around features and UX.
Lots of small annoying things are creeping in across the estate.
Take the "new tab" page in the Chrome browser. there's a big grey bar across the top of it that states "for quick access, place your bookmarks here". I don't want bookmarks there, in fact I don't have any bookmarks but I can't get rid of that bar. It looks stupid and every time it opens up... it asks me.
Google Plus is another one. It has looked like a jumble sale for some time now which we are all used to, but it is features like "YOU MIGHT KNOW THESE PEOPLE" that make it unusable. There, centre stage every time you use it is a list of 50 people you've never heard of, that you can't remove, that Google want you add as friends.
Chrome again now, there is a very annoying feature called "desktop notification" that again you cannot switch off. It is a festering little icon in your system tray that pops up now and then with some kind of alert. The best thing is that when it has nothing to tell you, you can click on it and it will say "there is nothing to alert you about". So why the hell is it there at all?
Either they're fiddling with their suite of tools because they've peaked in terms of layout, design and innovation or they've made the decision to just do more stuff that drives up adoption and money and they're willing to sacrifice the design and usability for it.
Some actions are definitely deliberately vague.
Take the sign-in page you're presented with when you first open Chrome. It looks like the gMail login, but actually signs you into the Chrome browser. This then syncs your history, open tabs, bookmarks and logins by default. It's all a bit shady and you'd never notice because it does pass-through when you visit a Google site and signs you in automatically...
Anyhow, off the back of some of these annoyances I dumped Chrome a few weeks back and switched to Safari, which is super integrated with OS X and iOS, which are currently the best platforms for me. Safari doesn't fly at work where I use Linux/Firefox... but it's not a bad idea to separate those two lives anyway.
I guess after a long while of being very happy with the tools I use, I'm diversifying a bit.. never pays to have all your eggs in one basket and definitely don't be afraid to change!